Spirituality and Indian Culture
The history of India would remain enigmatic, particularly, the remarkable phenomenon of the continuity of Indian culture through the millennia would remain a mystery if we do not take into account the role that spirituality has played not only in determining the direction other philosophical and cultural effort but also in replenishing the springs of creativity at every crucial hour in the long and often weary journey. It is true that spirituality has played a role in every civilization and that no culture can claim a monopoly for spirituality. And yet, it can safely be affirmed that the unique greatness and continuity of Indian culture can be traced to her unparalleled experimentation, discovery and achievement in the vast field of spirituality.
Indian culture has recognized spirituality not only as the supreme occupation of man but also as his all-integrating occupation. Similarly, the entire spectrum of Indian culture,—its religion, ethics, philosophy, literature, art, architecture, dance, music, and even its polity and social and economic organization,—all these have been constantly influenced and moulded by the inspiring force of a multi-sided spirituality.
The distinctive character of Indian spirituality is its conscious and deliberate insistence on direct experience. It affirms that deep within the heart and high above the mind there is accessible to our consciousness a realm of truths, powers and ecstasies that we can, by methodised effort of Yoga*, realize in direct experience, can even hold permanently, and express in varying degrees through our instruments of the mind, life and body. This affirmation has
"Yoga is a comprehensive system of concentration, passive and dynamic, leading to living contact, union and identity with realities or Reality underlying the universe, with appropriate consequences in our nature and action, individual and cosmic. In recent times. Yoga is often misrepresented to be identical with Hathayoga, a system of physical and subtle exercises, which is only a specialisation, and a dispensable one, of the real comprehensive system.